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Defending champ, PGA qualifier headline field at Texas State Open

Defending champion Chris Ward of McKinney and 2014 PGA Championship qualifier Stuart Deane of Arlington head the field for the 44th Bright Realty Texas State Open, which begins Thursday at The Lakes at Castle Hills in Lewisville.

Ward won last year’s event in dramatic fashion, eagling the 18th hole to finish with a four-round total of 14-under-par 274. The shot gave him a two-stroke win over Deane and John Kimbell of San Antonio.

Deane will compete next week in the PGA Championship, which will be held at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., Aug. 7-10. Deane is the golf pro at Rolling Hills Country Club in Arlington.

Ward is one of seven past champions in this year’s field. The others are Robert Gwin (2010), Mark Walker (2004), Casey Devoll (2003), Clark Dennis (1992), Mike Peck (amateur) (1991) and Terry Snodgrass (1981, 1985).

The field will be trimmed to the 50 low scores and ties on Friday.

Also competing will be 2013 low amateur Kolton Crawford of Mansfield. This year’s sponsor exemptions were granted to Cody Gribble of Dallas and Omar Uresti of Austin.